Spotlight: Dubai Crosses the Crypto Regulation Threshold With VARA Establishment

Cryptocurrencies continue to be a hot topic, with new guidelines being introduced by different governing bodies to gradually create regulations for the digital assets. The latest of these to tackle the evergrowing problem that is digital asset regulation is Dubai: in March, it announced a new law (Law No.4 of 2022) to create a legal framework for investors, and Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) to enforce this law.

In addition to a more established framework, the law will create international standards for virtual asset (VA) industry governance to promote responsible business growth, under prudential regulations. It will be applicable throughout the emirate, including special development zones and free zones, but not Dubai International Financial Centre. VARA has a legal personality and financial autonomy and is linked to the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority (DWTCA).

VARA will be responsible for licensing and regulating the sector across Dubai’s mainland and the free zone territories (excluding DIFC). This is because DIFC’s regulator, the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), is working on its own regulation for the virtual asset sector.

Knock-on effect

The new law has allowed various global VA exchanges to expand into Dubai. With regulatory oversight from VARA, Binance, the cryptocurrency exchange, will be permitted to extend limited exchange products and services to pre-qualified investors and professional financial service providers.

Changpeng Zhao (CZ), founder and CEO of Binance, said: “High standards of regulation and compliance are critical to the development and maturing of the global crypto and blockchain industry, which is why our team has been working tirelessly to demonstrate how we meet and exceed the requirements of regulators such as the VARA.”

“Binance is appreciative of being awarded this license in such a progressive regime, targeting uncompromised governance and market security. The collaborative way in which Binance has been engaged to bring proven industry compliance leading experience to the Dubai ecosystem is indicative of the unique operating model that the VARA is creating for the global industry.”

Additionally,, the cryptocurrency platform and Investopia, the UAE platform that brings together stakeholders from throughout global finance, technology and sustainability sectors to formulate innovative new platforms for economic progress, inclusion and diversity, have hosted a press conference for the Investopia Summit and launch the company’s founding partnership, following a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

As the exclusive global cryptocurrency trading platform founding partner of the Investopia Summit, will play a prominent role in furthering the role of digital assets and their accompanying infrastructure by bringing sector-leading expertise and capability to such an important global platform.

“The United Arab Emirates is committed to championing the industries of the future and to developing an ecosystem that attracts pioneers, innovators and investors to bring them to fruition,” commented H.E. Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade and the Minister in Charge of Talent Attraction and Retention. “Cryptocurrencies, virtual assets and the blockchain are exciting new sectors that are already revolutionizing how money, information and value is stored and transferred. The UAE is now developing a robust governance and regulatory framework to ensure that we are providing a best-in-class environment for companies in this space to flourish – and to position the UAE as the ideal platform for disruptive ideas with global impact.”

  • Francis is a junior journalist with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.